small business and trade

MSMEs day 2020

MSMEs are the backbone of many economies, representing 95 percent of all companies worldwide and accounting for 60 percent of employment. In developing economies, they contribute to around 35% of GDP and, in developed countries, around 50%.


MSMEs are facing some of the greatest economic difficulties from the COVID-19 pandemic. For one, MSMEs are overrepresented in economic sectors that have been disproportionately affected by massive shocks to demand and supply.  Supply chain disruptions complicate the sourcing, logistics and/or international sales by MSMEs integrated in global value chains. Moreover, unlike larger firms, MSMEs often have less resilience and flexibility in dealing with the costs these shocks entail because of their resources, thus making it more challenging for them to survive the crisis.   These pandemic-related challenges add on to the existing, well-known trade obstacles encountered by MSMEs.

To support MSMEs, governments have introduced a set of short-term measures to address their cash flow issues and longer-term measures to help them build resilience. International organizations have also undertaken several initiatives to support MSMEs, ranging from documentation initiatives regarding government support measures to liquidity support to MSMEs.

The Covid-19 pandemic has made abundantly clear just how crucial greater international trade coordination and cooperation are to effectively support MSMEs. Trade provides MSMEs with an opportunity to develop their business operations during and after the crisis.  WTO Members of the Informal Working Group on MSMEs are exploring solutions to overcome obstacles encountered by MSMEs interested in trade, and have called for a coordinated global response to help MSMEs during the Covid-19 pandemic in the Group's recently issued declaration. G20 Trade and Investment Ministers have also called international organizations to support trade by providing an in-depth analysis of the impact of COVID-19 on world trade, investment and global value chains.

This webinar will provide an overview of actions taken by governments and international organizations to support MSMEs. It will discuss approaches followed by governments to support their MSMEs in this time of crisis and explore how international cooperation can be strengthened to better support national efforts to maintain MSMEs.


June 26th - 10am to 11.30am (CET) - Helping MSMEs in the time of Covid-19 - national perspectives

1. WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo – Introductory Remarks
2. ICC Secretary General, John Denton – Introductory Remarks

3. Governments' initiatives to support MSMEs

  • H.E Félix Miézan ANOBLE, Ministre de la Promotion des Petites et Moyennes Entreprises de la Côte d'Ivoire
  • Lucian Cernat, Chief Trade Economist of the European Commission
  • Jose Antonio Buencamino, Deputy Permanent Representative, Mission of the Philippines to the WTO

Moderator: H.E Ambassador Cancela of Uruguay

June 26th - 3pm-4.30pm (CET) - MSMEs and COVID-19 - the perspective of international organizations

International organizations ' initiatives to support MSMEs

  • Vyara Filipova, Technical Attaché, World Customs Organization
  • Marion Janson, Chief Economist of the International Trade Centre
  • Jose Ernesto Lopez Cordova, Lead Economist, World Bank
  • Lucia Cusmano, Acting Head, SME and Entrepreneurship Division of the OECD
  • Maximo ToreroCullen, Chief Economist at the Food and Agriculture Organization

Moderator: Emmanuelle Ganne, Senior Analyst, World Trade Organization



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